Karl Terzaghi said "In engineering practices, difficulties through soils are almost exclusively not due to soils themselves but to water contained in their voids. On a planet without any water there would have been no need for Soil Mechanics."
The need to control water via suitable drainage is a fundamental in soil mechanics and engineers have largely achieved this giving soil improved soil strength. Solutions utilising crushed stone exist such as French drains, stone columns and drainage layers under embankments. Geocomposite drainage has been developed that performs to a higher level whilst also producing other benefits such as reduced carbon. Meanwhile surface water has been dealt with by pipes, gullies and channels.
Over the last decade, storm events have increased and population expansion has put extra stress on drainage systems, leading to instability and flooding. Increasing environmental awareness and these real events have brought into sharp focus the need to find innovative ways to attenuate and drain water from our built environment.
The buzz word is SuDS by which water us treated at source. Now geocomposite drainage is not only utilised for improving soil strength but also essential for surface water control. Alan will outline the development of these cost effective and efficient systems along with some key geotechnical and hydraulic design considerations for all engineers dealing with water.
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